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Major network breaches are an all-too-common occurrence these days, and all it takes is one hacker or disgruntled employee leaking data to lead to years of headaches for a business. To mitigate this threat, organizations have a number of tools at their disposal, and perhaps the most critical one is a network firewall.
A network firewall is typically the first line of defense a business or home network has against external threats. When a packet of information attempts to enter the network, the firewall determines if it is legitimate or not. If the data is related to the VoIP phone system or employee email solution, for example, then the firewall allows it to proceed unimpeded to its final destination. On the other hand, if the packet of data is ruled to be malware or a request coming in as part of a DDoS attack, then hopefully the network firewall will not let it proceed.
As its name implies, a firewall is like a wall for an IT network. Just as a castle wall is intended to keep out invaders, a firewall works to keep out threats that may harm endpoints. There are three types of firewall: Wired firewall, Wireless firewall, and wired and Wireless firewall.
Some of the biggest IT manufacturers in the world make network firewalls, including brands like Cisco, Dell and Netgear. However, choosing between the various options that are currently available is often easier said than done.
First, organizations need to determine how comprehensive they want their network firewall to be. Some offerings, like the Cisco Small Business RV110W-A-NA-K9 Wireless-N VPN Firewall 5000, provide protection for wired and wireless networks, while others only cover wired configurations. In addition, the number of local area network ports and the type of modulation offered by a network firewall varies considerably by make or model, and organizations need to determine their specific security needs first before choosing a model.
Cost is another key consideration, as no business wants to spend too much money on any one IT network component. For very budget-conscious consumers, Cisco has an offering that costs around $70. On the other hand, the Dell SONICWALL 01-SSC-3813 SuperMassive 9200 TotalSecure Firewall will set a company back more than $42,000. The costs of a data breach are far more than what any one network firewall costs, and companies should note that a quality solution can be found at any price point.
When it comes to effective cybersecurity and network governance, individuals and organizations have a number of tools at their disposal. Network firewalls have long functioned as a critical safeguard, and they will likely continue to occupy this role in the foreseeable future.